Geroscience is an emerging new field in biomedical research, concerned with the biochemical drivers of aging and age-related disease. These drivers are known as the Hallmarks of Aging (a phrase coined by one of our scientific founders).
Over the last two decades, the geroscience community has identified several orthogonal methods of extending healthy lifespan in mammals, up to 30% in some cases. Despite this series of incredible scientific advances, there has never been a systematic industry effort to screen for new ‘geroprotectors’ or drugs that extend healthy lifespan.
Samsara Therapeutics is built on a screening platform that has identified new molecules that extend healthy lifespan across species. We then chemically optimize these hits and test them in animal models of disease and aging.
We begin with readouts of the Hallmarks of Aging in human cells and yeast with our BioCELL and CellHealth Platforms, followed by healthspan studies C. elegans, D. melanogaster, and mice. Most of the known ‘geroprotective’ small molecules, such as rapamycin and metformin, were discovered to extend lifespan using these short-lived model organisms.
In our labs in Oxford, we are studying the mechanism of action of our new molecules and uncovering exciting new biological pathways. We are also running high throughput screens against new targets based on the years of expertise and insights from our scientific founders.
Across species, the aging process is phylogenetically conserved – the Hallmarks of Aging in fruit flies and mice are shared with the hallmarks in humans. By slowing the aging process, Samsara does not rely on contrived animal models of disease, which have limited concordance with human pathology. A molecule that extends healthy lifespan in one species often extends lifespan in other species.
By targeting the fundamental biology of the aging process, there is an increasing body of evidence to show that the drugs we aim to develop can be applied to many different age related-diseases.